2023 has been a blockbuster year for global music tours. Taylor Swift became the first artist to surpass $1bn in ticket sales  for her Eras tour, outselling industry legend Elton John, who delivered an emotional farewell to his final tour at a performance in Stockholm in July 2023.  Other major performers hitting the road include Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles and Olivia Rodrigo. 
Despite this, many major global cities still find themselves uninvited to the parties organised by the world’s top musicians. Hong Kong, for example, was missed out on several world tours due to its late reopening following the Covid-19 pandemic, losing dates to other Asian countries including Japan, Singapore and the Philippines. 
But which global cities are most often overlooked on world tours? To find out, Radical Storage has analysed more than 700 gigs from 21 of the biggest music artists with world tours in recent years to see which cities they visited, cancelled, or are in their schedule for 2024.
- Toronto is the world’s most popular world tour destination, with 85.1% of world tours attending the Canadian city by music elite since 2015, closely followed by London with 83%.
- Athens and Istanbul were the most snubbed cities in Europe with 97.9% of world tours skipping the cities.
- Four South American cities, including Bogota and Medellin in Colombia, are part of the most frequently overlooked cities on major world tours, with 97.9% of world tours ignoring them.
- Just one major world tour artist – Sam Smith, opted for a gig in Fort Worth, TX, making it the most-snubbed city in the U.S. for major concerts.
- Chicago and Houston were the U.S. top cities for world tours, receiving 80.9% of major artists since 2015, with Philadelphia in third (70.2%).
- Stockholm and Copenhagen are among the four cities with the most cancelled shows of world tours since 2015.
Four South American cities among the most-snubbed for world tours
In total, we analysed 47 world tours from 21 of the biggest acts in music today based on their streaming figures on Spotify, with some including Coldplay and The Weeknd organising multiple tours, between 2015 and 2024. However, a number of cities were overlooked in this research as none of the artists we looked at had performed there since 2015.
12 global cities only saw one major world tour, including four in South America — Bogota and Medellin, Colombia, and Fortaleza and Salvador, Brazil. Despite its status as a leading global hub at the cusp of Europe and Asia, artists visited Istanbul in Turkey just once between 2015 and 2024. In the U.S., Fort Worth was excluded while neighbouring Dallas was among the most-visited.
In Oceania, Gold Coast and Wollongong suffered the most, with 97.87% of world tours skipping them on their Australian legs of the tour. The data suggests what most Aussies already know, in order to see a huge artist on their world tour, a trip to Sydney or Melbourne is a must.
Artists often find themselves overwhelmed by the demand for tickets to their concerts, often having to add dates after announcing a tour. Olivia Rodrigo added 18 shows to her ‘Guts’ tour for 2024, after facing criticism for omitting major cities and leaving fans out in the cold when applying for tickets. 
Cities most ignored by world tours in the world
Historic cities of Athens and Edinburgh snubbed by stars
When it comes to European destinations, six major cities in the UK were most snubbed by artists on world tours. While London and Manchester were among the most popular for global gigs, cities like Edinburgh and Nottingham saw just four blockbuster shows between 2015 and 2024.
Scottish fans particularly felt the squeeze when Taylor Swift announced shows at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium for her Eras tour, with tickets selling out and appearing on the second-hand market for thousands of pounds.
Just one artist – Coldplay chose Athens for its global tour. The Chris Martin-led band will perform their first concert in Greece at the city’s Olympic Stadium in June 2024. Musicians have tended to avoid Greek cities in recent years, with high taxes and smaller venues limiting earning potential for star performers. However, veteran artists like Radiohead and Depeche Mode have bucked the trend, often choosing gigs in Athens and Thessaloniki as part of their tours .
European cities most skipped by world tours
Fort Worth in Dallas’s shadow for tour dates
Five U.S. cities were among the most snubbed by major artists. Because of its proximity to Dallas, stars often overlook Fort Worth, Texas as a tour venue, often performing at Dallas’s 21,000-capacity American Airlines Center or 80,000-capacity AT&T Stadium. However, Sam Smith bucked the trend in 2023, adding a date at Fort Worth’s Dickies Arena as part of their Gloria tour.
Jacksonville is another city often forgotten by music’s elite. Despite being Florida’s largest city with a population of 950,000, artists ultimately prefer Orlando, Tampa and Miami as destinations in the Sunshine State. Our research shows that 87% of stars skipped the Duval area on their travels.
North American cities most skipped by world tours
Sao Paulo — world’s fourth largest city starved of headline shows
South America is often overlooked when it comes to world tours. The sheer distance between major cities rules out tour buses, and the complexities of border crossings often mean artists will include only a handful of dates on the continent. Geography didn’t stop Chile’s president Gabriel Boric publicly courting Taylor Swift, who shared a public video calling on the singer to visit the country on her Eras tour. 
However, our data shows that Brazil is most often snubbed by artists, with six major cities appearing on fewer than 15% of world tours between 2015 and 2024. Most surprising is São Paulo, the world’s 4th largest city. Only Dua Lipa and Maroon 5 performed there in the analysed timespan, while Rio de Janeiro saw 18 shows during the same period.
South American cities most skipped by world tours
Chinese cities among the most skipped by Western stars
Music’s elite maintains huge support in Asia, but there are a number of reasons why extensive tours across the continent are difficult. Our research shows that three major Chinese cities, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai all featured on less than 15% of major world tours, with long-lasting restrictions following the Covid-19 pandemic  and scepticism of Western musicians within the Chinese government  potentially affecting artists’ decisions to travel.
Kuala Lumpur features in the top 10 most-snubbed cities, with 91% of tours skipping Malaysia entirely. The country faced controversy when The 1975 lead singer Matt Healy kissed his bandmate Ross MacDonald during a gig there in August 2023, sparking an international row and legal action over Malaysia’s strict anti-LGBT laws. 
Toronto is music’s world tour capital
Organising global music tours isn’t easy, and naturally, the elite of the entertainment world can’t visit every world city. While acts like Elton John, Harry Styles and Coldplay all earned more than $600m from their most recent tours,  the sheer expense of logistics of international tours has skyrocketed post-pandemic, affecting smaller acts more profoundly. 
However, some cities have proven to be magnets for world tours. Our research shows that Toronto has hosted 40 world tour dates since 2015, more than anywhere else in the world. Its proximity to the mainland U.S. makes it an easy international stop for artists, even though Taylor Swift kept her fans in Canada waiting for her Eras tour. 
Both London and Manchester feature prominently, with 39 and 31 world tour dates respectively. The UK’s live music industry has recovered strongly from the Covid-19 pandemic, grossing around £2bn in 2022.  Manchester in particular has seen a surge in demand, with a new £365m concert venue, Co-op Live set to open in the city in early 2024, competing with the adjacent Etihad Stadium and city centre AO Arena for global gigs. 
Stockholm and Copenhagen among cities with most cancelled world tour dates
Sometimes, artists have to take the difficult decision to cancel a concert, often on short notice. In 2023, Sam Smith had to postpone gigs in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow after sustaining a vocal cord injury.  Others, including Justin Bieber and Arlo Parks have pulled out of concerts to protect their mental health.  But which cities have seen the most major world tour gigs cancelled?
Four cities — London, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Houston saw artists pull out of gigs since 2015. It is interesting to note London and Houston, according to our research, saw 39 and 38 major concerts respectively, so losing 3 nights is unsurprising. However, Copenhagen and Stockholm receive a smaller share of world tour dates, so losing nights is likely to be more frustrating for Scandinavian pop fans. Dua Lipa was due to play both cities in March 2020, but the concerts had to be postponed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Prior to this, Lady Gaga cancelled 10 of her Joanne world tour dates in 2018, citing ‘severe pain’ as the reason for not performing. [20
We reviewed 707 concert dates from 21 of the biggest music artists with world tour lineups to see which cities they visited, cancelled, or plan to visit in 2024. This was compared against a list of top 100 biggest cities in the world, judged by population.
Artists were chosen if they ranked as some of the most-streamed artists on Spotify and have performed a world tour since 2015. Setlist.fm was used to match tour dates with artists as well as confirmation with promotional material from artists themselves on social media and their own websites.
The following major global cities were excluded from our analysis as they had not had a single world tour from any of our analysed artists since 2015:
- Addis Ababa
Russian cities were excluded as artists have cancelled tours from 2022-2024 due to the war.
 CNBC:Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is set to earn a record-breaking $1 billion in sales—here are the 10 highest-grossing tours https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/04/taylor-swift-eras-tour-set-to-earn-record-breaking-1-billion-dollars-in-sales.html
 NME: Watch Elton John perform an emotional ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ on final night of farewell tour https://www.nme.com/news/music/watch-elton-john-emotional-goodbye-yellow-brick-road-final-show-3466450
 Billboard: Biggest Music Tours & Festivals of 2023: How to Get Tickets to Jonas Brothers, Ed Sheeran, 50 Cent & More https://www.billboard.com/culture/product-recommendations/biggest-music-tours-and-festivals-how-to-get-tickets-1235203027/
 SCMP: Taylor Swift and Coldplay are skipping Hong Kong on their Asia tours – but why? https://www.scmp.com/yp/discover/news/article/3226362/taylor-swift-and-coldplay-are-skipping-hong-kong-their-asia-tours-why
 Variety: Olivia Rodrigo Adds 18 New Dates to ‘Guts’ World Tour https://variety.com/2023/music/news/olivia-rodrigo-tour-guts-1235721001/
 Edinburgh Evening News: Taylor Swift Eras Tour 2023: Taylor Swift Edinburgh Murrayfield gig tickets being sold for more than £3,000 https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/whats-on/arts-and-entertainment/taylor-swift-eras-tour-2023-taylor-swift-edinburgh-murrayfield-gig-tickets-being-sold-for-more-than-ps3000-4215372
 Propaganda.gr: Why aren’t Radiohead coming (again) to Greece? https://popaganda.gr/art/radiohead-live-in-greece/